Methadone clinic relocation creates concern for south side community

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (Dec. 7,2015)- Residents, business owners, universities and local schools are concerned about a methadone clinic that is trying to move into their neighborhood.

The Indianapolis board of zoning appeals will make a ruling on the relocation proposal on Tuesday.

Patients going in and out of the Indianapolis Treatment Center are battling addictions to opioids like heroin, morphine and prescription pain pills.

"I've been clean for a year. Some people try and try again to get clean and nothing works," said a patient who asked to have her identity concealed. She receives methadone from the clinic.

The existing clinic near 46th street and Keystone Avenue, provides patients Methadone, Suboxone, Subutex and Vivitrol. They are all drugs used to wean people off of narcotics and lead them towards recovery.

"There are a lot of people who really do need it and it would really hurt a lot of lives if they weren't able to come here," said the anonymous patient.

"This is that tough ground, something like this is badly needed in the city," said Jeff Miller (R-District 19)

However, the question is where. The clinic is looking to close its current facility and move into a bigger location at the Southgate shopping center near Madison Avenue and Hanna Avenue.

"People were very concerned about this location for the new clinic," said Miller, who will represent the district at the end of the year.

Part of the concern that some have is summed up in a picture obtained by FOX59. It shows lines of people spilling out of the door. Residents in the area have concerns about safety and the residual effects it will have on the community.

Currently, Jefferson Shreeve represents district 23. He said that the methadone clinic would go against all of the progress that has been made in that area. He worries that the clinic will bring down the neighborhood and sends the wrong message to the surrounding community.

In order for the the Indianapolis Treatment Center to move into the vacant location in the Southgate shopping center, a special exception of the commercial zoning ordinance must be approved by the board of zoning appeals.

The proposed location sits in Perry Township and is bordered by several businesses, across the street from a preschool and walking distance from the University of Indianapolis. Safety is one of the biggest concerns for people in the area.

"We believe this project – in its current form – would counteract the positive steps we have taken to revitalize our area and would threaten the value of the investments already made," reads part of a statement released by the University of Indianapolis.

Perry Townships Schools also opposed the plan.

"The proposed treatment center site is within close proximity to five of our schools which causes us concern considering the customer base that this clinic would serve and the 4,000 children that are within close proximity to the treatment center," said Dr. Thomas J. Little, Jr, Superintendent Perry Township Schools.

The full statement from Perry Townships Schools can be read here.

The board of zoning appeals meets Tuesday at 1 p.m in a meeting open to the public.